What Are The Pros And Cons Of Std Testing Without A Doctor
Not visiting a doctors office and heading directly into STD testing could save you time and money, especially if you dont have health insurance. In addition, during the pandemic routine, in-person medical visits are discouraged to protect patients from potential contagion and to allow hospitals to devote resources to the most urgent needs.
However, deciding on the best STD test for you can be difficult theres a large number of available options, and it can be tough to identify precisely what tests you may need . The most common STDs that physicians screen for are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.
TheCDC recommends that all sexually active women who are younger than 25 years old be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women who are 25 years or older who have new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner with an STD should also be tested every year.
HIV testing often falls into its own category. Testing and care on that front is more likely to be available in clinics but there are also newer tests that can enable sample collection and results at home from start to finish.
Poor sample collection is always a risk in diagnostic testing, but it can be even more of an issue when it comes to collecting a sample by yourself. So be sure to follow the instructions precisely.
What About Rectal And Oral Swabs
While neither rectal nor oral swabs are currently approved for the detection of chlamydia, research suggests that doing these extragenital tests is important.
For example, a 2017 study found that among men who have sex with men , 13% had a rectal chlamydia infection but only 3.4% had a positive urethral swab. In women in an urban setting in the United States, 3.7% were found to have an extragenital infection. Those under the age of 18 had the highest incidence of extragenital infection.
What Does The Chlamydia Test Involve
The recommended tests for chlamydia are simple, painless and generally very reliable.
They involve sending a sample of cells to a laboratory for analysis. You don’t necessarily have to be examined by a doctor or nurse first and can often collect the sample yourself.
There are two main ways the sample can be collected:
- using a swab a small cotton bud is gently wiped over the area that might be infected, such as inside the vagina or inside the anus
- urinating into a container this should ideally be done at least 1 hour after you last urinated
Men will usually be asked to provide a urine sample, while women will usually be asked to either swab inside their vagina or provide a urine sample.
The results will normally be available in 7 to 10 days. If there’s a high chance you have chlamydia for example, you have symptoms of the infection or your partner has been diagnosed with it and you’ve had unprotected sex with them you might start treatment before you get your results.
Read more about treating chlamydia.
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What Is An Incubation Period
The incubation period is the time needed for the body to develop its response, following an infection. So, when the body gets exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, it starts preparing for an antibody attack to fight it off. As a result, symptoms start appearing. In other words, it is the interval of time between when the person gets exposed to an STD and when symptoms start appearing.
You should not get confused about the incubation and the window period.
Where Can I Get Tested For Chlamydia
You can get tested for chlamydia and other STDs at your doctors office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center. In some states, you can do an online visit and take a chlamydia test at home.
STD testing isnt always part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it. Be open and honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out which tests you may need. Dont be embarrassed: Your doctor is there to help, not to judge.
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What Can It Do To Me
If not treated, Chlamydia infections can result in:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Risk of an ectopic pregnancy
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
- Reiter’s syndrome
- Pain and swelling in testicles
Chlamydia is often associated with other undetected or untreated infections and people infected with Chlamydia are at greater risk of becoming infected with, and spreading, HIV.
Each Year There Are Approximately 15 Million Cases Of Chlamydia And 350000 Cases Of Gonorrhea Reported To The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
However this may not accurately reflect the total number of infected individuals, as most people with these infections have no symptoms and go untested. These bacterial infections are spread through sexual intercourse . This test will not be able to tell you the specific site of the infection, but will detect the infection if present.
Pregnant women with an active gonorrhea or chlamydia infection at the time of vaginal delivery can spread the infection directly to their children during birth. All sexually active women under age 25 and women over age 25 with risk factors for contracting chlamydia or gonorrhea should get tested every year: risk factors include unprotected sex, new sexual partners, or multiple sexual partners. Men at risk for chlamydia or gonorrhea should get tested each year, and more often as needed: risk factors include having sex with a partner who has chlamydia or gonorrhea, men who have sex with men, unprotected sexual intercourse, and multiple sex partners.
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Youre In A Dry Spell But Have Had Sex Within The Past Year:
If youre engaging in sexual activity at least once a year and youre between the ages 21 and 25, you should be getting tested for chlamydia annually. The prevalence of chlamydia up until age 25 is so high that its important to test for it, board-certified ob/gyn Antonio Pizarro, M.D., tells SELF.
Since gonorrhea is also a common STD in people of that age range, your doctor will likely want to check you out for that as well, Hook explains. At this appointment, you and your doctor can discuss your sexual history and which other STD tests you might need.
If you’re over 25, the standard guidelines say you should get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia if you have a new partner or partners, or if youve had unprotected sex.
How Do I Know If I Have Chlamydia
You cant tell if you have chlamydia just by the way you feel. The only way to know for sure if you have chlamydia is to get tested whether or not you have symptoms.
If youre showing any signs of chlamydia, you should get tested. Testing is also a good idea if youve had unprotected sex or if a partner has chlamydia . In general, people who are sexually active should get tested for STDs, including chlamydia, about once a year. If youre pregnant, get tested for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. Want to know if you should be tested for chlamydia? Check out this quiz to find out.
Chlamydia testing is pretty easy and painless. The best part about getting tested for STDs? Once you get it over with, it can really put your mind at ease. And if you DO have chlamydia, its best to know right away so you can take medicine and get better as soon as possible.
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Get Tested For Chlamydia Today
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting chlamydia. And many who do contract it may no ever know. Unfortunately, untreated chlamydia can have long-lasting health implications, especially for women. This is why you need to know how to answer the question, how do you test for Chlamydia?
Follow our guide to identifying your risk, symptoms, and learn how to get tested today. Get a swift, confidential, low cost online STI testing here.
Home Remedies For Chlamydia Symptoms
You may still experience painful or uncomfortable symptoms while youre taking chlamydia antibiotics.
Here are some home remedies for reducing your pain and other symptoms while youre waiting for the antibiotics to work:
- pain medications, such as ibuprofen to reduce pain
- cold pack to help limit swelling and inflammation
- goldenseal to reduce inflammation and potentially make symptoms less severe
- echinacea to bolster your immune system against the infection and reduce your symptoms
- turmeric containing an ingredient called curcumin to reduce inflammation and make symptoms less severe
No studies support the effectiveness of these supplements specifically for chlamydia, so take them with caution.
And theres no substitute for antibiotics when treating chlamydia. Only try these remedies if youre already taking antibiotics or if you plan to go to the doctor.
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What Are Complications Of Chlamydia
If left untreated, the germs can spread and cause an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, known as pelvic inflammatory disease . Even without symptoms, it can lead to serious complications, such as:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Ectopic pregnancy
- During pregnancy, early labour, and infection of the eyes and lungs of the newborn.
Infections, including chlamydia, of the genital area may increase the risk of getting human immunodeficiency virus .
How Often Should I Get Tested
The CDC recommends that sexually active women younger than 25 years old get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with a new partner, multiple partners, or a partner who has an STI should also get tested annually.
Sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea annually. In cases of frequent sexual encounters with multiple partners, the CDC recommends testing every 3-6 months.
If youre experiencing any symptoms of an STI, you shouldnt hesitate before getting tested.
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Why Test For Chlamydia
Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the UK. It affects both men and women.
It often has no symptoms, so you might not know you have it. The only way to find out is to take a test.
Even if you dont think youve been at risk and you dont have any symptoms, taking a chlamydia test is still a good idea its a simple way to find out how easy it is to get tested.
How Is Chlamydia Spread
You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.
If your sex partner is male you can still get chlamydia even if he does not ejaculate .
If youve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again. This can happen if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.
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Do I Need To Get Tested Even Without Symptoms
If you are sexually active you should still get tested for chlamydia regularly even if you dont have symptoms. Passing on chlamydia can make any relationship or sexual encounter extremely awkward and can also have serious repercussions for the other persons health.
Even without symptoms chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women which can seriously hard reproductive health. It can also cause fertility problems for men. Testing regularly is the most straightforward way to protect both your health and the health of your future sexual partners.
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How Long Does It Take To Show Up On A Test
There are several tests that you doctor might use to diagnose chlamydia:
- Urine test. Youll pee in a cup thats sent off to a laboratory testing facility to see if any chlamydia bacteria are present in your urine.
- Blood test. Your doctor will use a sterile needle to draw some of your blood and send it to a lab to see if antibodies to the chlamydia bacteria are present in your bloodstream.
- Swab. Your doctor will use a cotton round or stick to take a small sample of tissue or fluid that carries the infection, which is then sent to a lab to be cultured so that lab technicians can see what bacteria grows from the sample.
How long it takes for the results to show up depends on the test and on your specific health insurance plan.
- Urine tests take about 2 to 5 days to show a positive or negative result.
- Blood tests can come back with results in a few minutes if the blood is analyzed on site. But they can take a week or more if sent to an off-site lab.
- Swab results take about 2 to 3 days to show a positive or negative.
1 to 3 weeks to show up in people with vulvas.
Symptoms may take up a few months to show up. This is because bacteria are living creatures and have an incubation period that affects how long it takes them to cluster together and become infectious.
This incubation period is dependent on a variety of factors, including:
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What Do I Need To Know If I Get Treated For Chlamydia
If youre getting treated for chlamydia:
- Take all of your medicine the way your nurse or doctor tells you to, even if any symptoms you may be having go away sooner. The infection stays in your body until you finish the antibiotics.
- Your partner should also get treated for chlamydia so you dont re-infect each other or anyone else.
- Dont have sex for 7 days. If you only have 1 dose of medication, wait for 7 days after you take it before having sex. If youre taking medicine for 7 days, dont have sex until youve finished all of your pills.
- Get tested again in 3-4 months to make sure your infection is gone.
- Dont share your medicine with anyone. Your nurse or doctor may give you a separate dose of antibiotics for your partner. Make sure you both take all of the medicine you get.
- Even if you finish your treatment and the chlamydia is totally gone, its possible to get a new chlamydia infection again if youre exposed in the future. Chlamydia isnt a one-time-only deal. So use condoms and get tested regularly.
Some Of The Best Home Chlamydia Tests
Below are four companies in good standing with the Better Business Bureau . The first three tests involve providing samples in a lab, so they may be more accurate. The fourth test, which involves sending in the sample, may be more convenient.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
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Chlamydia Can Be Treated And Cured With Antibiotics
Individuals diagnosed with chlamydia should abstain from sexual activity for one week after finishing antibiotics. Keep in mind that it is possible to become reinfected with chlamydia after receiving treatment. This is why it is crucial for partners of those who have chlamydia to also get tested and treated if found positive. Chlamydia often occurs along with gonorrhea . If you have one of these STDs, you might have the other because the risk factors and symptoms are very similar. Getting tested for both is important.
Whether or not symptoms are present, testing or screening for chlamydia can be done as early as 24 hours after exposure. The incubation times vary from person-to-person for the most accurate results, get tested two weeks after initial exposure. If you test positive for chlamydia, it is advised to get retested two weeks after completing treatment to be sure that all of the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria is cleared from your system.
How Do You Test For Chlamydia
Nucleic Acid Amplification The three NAA tests described below work by finding the DNA of chlamydia bacteria. Because NAA tests search for the bacterias genetic material, it is very unlikely that a false-positive test result will occur. The incubation period for chlamydia is 1-5 days, so wait at least five days after potential chlamydia exposure before getting tested to ensure the most accurate results possible.
- Testing via urine samples needs to consist of first-catch urine . Patients should not include more than the first-catch in the collection cup to avoid diluting the sample.
- Patients should not urinate for at least one hour prior to providing a sample.
- Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.
- Neonates conjunctival swab
Why shouldnt you get tested for chlamydia via a blood test?
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay Antibodies, IgM
- IgM antibodies are found mainly in the blood and lymph fluid they are the first antibody to be made by the body to fight a new infection.
- This blood samples results should not be used as a diagnostic procedure without confirmation of the diagnosis by another medically established diagnostic product or procedure.
Enzyme immunoassay Antibodies, IgG
- IgG antibodies are the most abundant type of antibody they are found in all body fluids and protect against bacterial and viral infections.
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Men May Experience The Following Symptoms:
- pain when peeing.
- discharge from the tip of the penis .
- pain in the testicles
- burning or itching in the genital area.
Remember: most people have no symptoms, so if you notice any of the above, get a full sexual health check at your local GUM/STI clinic.
The best way to make sure you dont get chlamydia is to use condoms.